Trade with China may not resume through Shipki La

Trade with China may not resume through Shipki La

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

Tribune News Service

Pratibha Chauhan

Shimla, June 24

Trade between India and China across the 18,599 feet Shipki La pass is unlikely to resume this year, as the Chinese authorities are reluctant to allow outsiders into the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), bordering the tribal district of Kinnaur.

Covid fear

Traders are upset that China is still reluctant to allow outsiders into Tibet. The trade takes place from June 1 to November 30 though it picks up during October-November.Rs Hishey Negi, President, Kinnaur Indo-China trade association

Trade between the two neighbours could not take place in the past two years due to the Covid pandemic though traders in border villages were keen to see trade activities resumed. “Traders hailing from the border villages in Kinnaur told me that traders in Tibet have informed them that the Chinese authorities have refused to allow trade this year as well due to Covid,” says Hishey Negi, president of the Kinnaur Indo-China Trade Association.

“We had received a report from the Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner that the trade be resumed and sent a request to the state government, to be taken up with the Union Ministry of External Affairs,” says Rakesh Prajapati, Director Industries, who is also the Exports Commissioner.

Negi says traders are disappointed that China is still reluctant to allow outsiders into its territory. The official period of the trade is from June 1 to November 30 every year though it picks up pace during October-November.

The volume of trade, which was resumed in 1992, has steadily been increasing despite occasional decline due to a standoff like the Doklam issue. The trade rose from Rs 8.59 crore in 2016 to Rs 59.21 crore in 2017. Traders from the border villages of Namgiya, Chango, Nako and Chuppan, which are close to the international boundary, trade goods every year and sell items brought from China at the Lavi fair at Rampur.

A total of 36 items, including spices, carpets and tea, are on the export list while 20 items are on the import list. About 12 new items, including carpets, spices, handloom goods, herbal medicines, shoes and readymade garments, which are much in demand, were added to the list in 2012 to help increase the quantum of trade.

Himachal shares a 240-km boundary with China—160 km in Kinnaur and 80 km in Spiti. The ban on the trade of livestock has been the most inhibiting factor in the recent years, as there is huge demand for Chihu goat on the Indian side.

Year-wise figures

Year Trade volume

2014 Rs 7.32 crore

2015 Rs 9.72 crore

2016 Rs 8.59 crore

2017 Rs 59.21 crore

2018 Rs 8.59 crore

2019 Rs 3.05 crore

#China #Shimla

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